PIA19953: Mapping Pluto's Methane Ice

Mapping Pluto’s Methane Ice


The Ralph/LEISA infrared spectrometer on NASA's New Horizons spacecraft mapped compositions across Pluto's surface as it flew past the planet on July 14, 2015. On the left, a map of methane ice abundance shows striking regional differences, with stronger methane absorption indicated by the brighter purple colors, and lower abundances shown in black. Data have only been received so far for the left half of Pluto's disk. At right, the methane map is merged with higher-resolution images from the spacecraft's Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI).

Background Info:

The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, designed, built, and operates the New Horizons spacecraft, and manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. The Southwest Research Institute, based in San Antonio, leads the science team, payload operations and encounter science planning. New Horizons is part of the New Frontiers Program managed by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Cataloging Keywords:

Name Value Additional Values
Target Pluto
System Pluto Kuiper Belt
Target Type Dwarf Planet KBO
Mission New Horizons
Instrument Host New Horizons
Host Type Flyby Spacecraft
Instrument Linear Etalon Imaging Spectral Array (LEISA) Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI)
Extra Keywords Color, Infrared, Map, Methane, Visual
Acquisition Date
Release Date 2015-09-24
Date in Caption 2015-07-14
Image Credit NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute
Source photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA19953
Identifier PIA19953